Home Run Derby: Going yard

Home Run Derby: Going yard

We asked several area sluggers to give us their picks on who will take home the title of best home run hitter at tonight's MLB Home Run Derby in Miami:

Max Quirk

Beware, future area pitchers. This kid is the real deal. The 12-year-old from Savoy, who will be in seventh grade this upcoming school year at Edison Middle School, won this season's C-U Little League Home Run Derby with six home runs after playing for Kuhn's this season.

His pick: Aaron Judge

Why: "He's been hitting a lot of home runs, and he's been hitting a lot of them far. He's very strong. Plus, he's hit the most home runs in the majors."

Nicole Evans, Illinois softball

The program's all-time leader in home runs hit 56 during her four-year career with the Illini, including 18 this past season, and led Illinois in the category the last three seasons.

Her pick: Giancarlo Stanton

Why: "I'd have to go with the reigning champ. His connection and power make him a top pick in my head. I wouldn't be surprised if Aaron Judge takes it, though."

Pat McInerney, Illinois baseball

The recently graduated senior led the Illini in home runs for the second straight season, hitting 12 this past spring for Dan Hartleb's club. He is now playing with the Milwaukee Brewers' Arizona League team after signing as an undrafted free agent.

His pick: Cody Bellinger

Why: "It's tough to pick against the reigning champion, Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins, especially at home. But I think Bellinger's sweet and easy swing outlasts Stanton in the final."

Trystin Raikes, Parkland baseball

The redshirt freshman from Ottawa was a key part of the Cobras' 52-9-1 season that ended with a top-four finish at the NJCAA Division II World Series. Raikes did his part by smashing a team-high 17 — or one-third of the 51 the Cobras hit as a team.

His pick: Giancarlo Stanton

Why: "His strength and obvious power are reasons why I'm picking him. Plus, having the derby in his home park in Miami should help."

Maddy Shoemaker, Parkland softball

The freshman from Geneseo was a big part of the Cobras' lineup, helping Parkland go 42-11, with a team-high 14 home runs.

Her pick: Aaron Judge

Why: "The numbers he has put up this season are pretty impressive, especially since he's a rookie. He recently broke Joe DiMaggio's record for most home runs by a Yankee rookie and that speaks for itself."

Bailey Dowling, St. Joseph-Ogden softball

The Spartans shortstop and N-G Player of the Year hit an area-record 22 home runs in her first high school season this past spring for the Class 2A state runner-ups.

Her pick: Giancarlo Stanton

Why: "I like his approach to the plate. He has such a powerful swing and swings for the fences. It is an approach I try to simulate."

Chase Vinson, Oakwood baseball

The upcoming senior for the Comets was a key reason why Oakwood won a Class 1A sectional title this past spring. He tied for the area lead in home runs with seven.

His pick: Giancarlo Stanton

Why: "With the derby and All-Star game being in Miami, that will help Stanton. I feel like he has a little pride in Miami and just wants to win it for his fans. With Miami being down for some time, I think he just wants to give them something to get behind."